Longtime Auburn War Eagle mascot dies at 34

Auburn mascot Nova, a golden eagle, flies over Jordan Hare Stadium prior to the start of an NCAA college football game against Alabama in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Auburn mascot Nova, a golden eagle, flies over Jordan Hare Stadium prior to the start of an NCAA college football game against Alabama in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013

Auburn mascot Nova, a golden eagle, flies over Jordan Hare Stadium prior to the start of an NCAA college football game against Alabama in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

The famous golden eagle that represented Auburn University for nearly 30 years, Tiger (AKA War Eagle VI) died Wednesday at the age of 34.

Tiger was the first eagle to fly freely in Jordan-Hare Stadium when she made her first gameday flight on August 31, 2000.

For the following seven years, she flew at Tigers’ home games before eventually retiring in 2006. Her final flight was on November 11, 2006.

According to a release from Auburn, Tiger was believed to be one of the oldest golden eagles in captivity.

Surgery was performed on Tiger on Tuesday to “remove a cataract in her left eye” that a team of veterinarians believed would result in damage to her eyesight.

“The cataract was progressing and without surgery a complete loss of vision was expected,” said Dr. Jamie Bellah, director of the Southeastern Raptor Clinic and head of Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Clinical Sciences.

Bellah said that Tiger “came through surgery and anesthesia well” but took “a turn for the worse” last night.

“We, like the Auburn family, are heartbroken by her death,” Bellah said.

This was Tiger’s second cataract surgery in the last three years. In 2012, a successful surgery on her right eye was completed, but months later “the retina of that eye detached,” which resulted in lost vision in the right eye.

After Tiger’s retirement in 2006, six-year-old Nova was introduced as War Eagle VII in November 2006. Nova, along with an American bald eagle named spirit, fly during pregame ceremonies at Auburn.

The University is planning a memorial service for Tiger. Details of the memorial have yet to be determined.

For more Auburn news, visit AuburnSports.com.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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